Land of Diversity
The country itself holds many surprises for you and offers any type of interest. The climate can fluctuate greatly, depending on the area and time of year. While in north and north west parts its almost cold with rain and snow in autumn, in south the weather is as pleasant as spring. Also it has mountains for skiing and hiking, beaches for swimming and diving, deserts for exploring, cities for sightseeing and history for uncovering. Iran’s diversity is not limited only to regions and climate; but also many different cultural groups such as Persian, Azeri, Kurdish, Lur etc. Who are proud of their own culture and of being Iranian.
Financial Issues in Traveling to Iran
- Currency: The currency used in Iran is the Iranian Rial which is actually Toman. In fact they’re not two currencies, official rates are announced in Rial but in daily life Toman is used instead which has one zero less. For example 10.000 Rials is equal to 1.000 Toman. Do not lose; it takes a couple of days to get used to. Finally if it troubled you in paying just ask the seller whether the rate is in Rial or Toman.
- Currency Exchanging: Exchange rate is not fixed in Iran like many other countries. Remember the official exchange rate is different from real exchange rate; the official one is lower. It’s highly recommended to travel to Iran with cash and exchange it in currency exchange offices in main cities; no hotels, and no guys on the sidewalk with briefcases full of cash.
- Credit Cards: Credit cards are not working in Iran (except in some souvenir and carpet shops); so as a foreigner you’ll need to bring cash, and the best currency to bring with you is US Dollars or Euro.
- How Much Cash Do You Need? Well, it’s not fixed but not including accommodation and domestic flights, you shouldn’t need to budget any more than EU25-40 per person, per day. That’s right; Iran is inexpensive country to visit.
Museums in Tehran
Sightseeing / Museums:
Carpet Museum of Iran: Not far from the Museum of Contemporary Art and also adjacent to Laleh Park, the Carpet Museum of Iran is one of the most rewarding of Tehran’s museums. Most of the carpets on display are from the 19th or 20th centuries; and photography is permitted though use of a flash is not.
Golestan Palace: The Golestan Palace (the Rose Garden palace) was the Qajar’s royal residence and stands as a monument to the excesses of the Qajar shahs. The palace includes several buildings that are open to the public. You can wander around the gardens and admire the painted tile work. The garden has a pavilion that shelters one of the best organized museums in Tehran. It showcases everything that makes up the basic originality of Iranian life in the various provinces of the country.
National Jewelry Museum: Located in the basement of the National Bank of Iran on Ferdowsi Avenue, in front of the embassies of Germany and Turkey, this is one of the best known museums in Iran. It displays an impressive collection of some of the most famous and spectacular jewels in the world including many priceless pieces. The majority of the items on display were given to Safavid kings as gifts but many pieces were taken by Nader Shah on his conquest of India. These include the Darya-e Nur diamond, the Peacock Throne and the Jeweled Globe, other pieces include the crowns of the Qajar and Pahlavi Kings.
Niavaran Palace Complex: The Niavaran Palace Complex consists of several buildings and a museum. The Sahebqraniyeh (Kings Special Office) contains a collection of art, the Shah’s golden phone, and royal pistols. The Palace of the Qajar dynasty is also inside this complex. This palace was the primary residence of the last Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Jahan-Nama Museum (Queens Private Museum) has more art plus archeological finds from Iran, Egypt and even Mexico.
Saad Abad Palace: The Sadabad Palace is a palace built by the Pahlavi dynasty of Iran in the Shemiran area of Tehran. The complex was firstinhabited by Qajar monarchs and royal family in the 19th century. After an expansion of the compounds, Reza Shah lived there in the 1920s. And his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi moved there in the 1970s. After the Iranian Revolution, the complex became a museum. However, the current presidential palace is located adjacent to the Sa’d Abad compound. Sad Abad has 18 palaces, which 7 palaces had changed to museums.
Nation Palace: Shah Reza summer villa
Nation Arts Museum (or Africa Museum): Situated in the Nation Museum are the dedications to the Shah from the Chinese, Indians and Africans.
Green Museum: Shah Reza Summer Palace
Anthropology Search Museum: All kinds of Iranian customs, relating to the culture and civilization of ancient Iran are shown
Military Museum: Equipment and Weapons from the Achamenian period to now.
Mir Emad Museum: Calligraphy Masterpieces of Mir Emad and other calligraphists.
Abkar Museum: Klara Abkar Paintings.
Behzad Museum (miniature): Hossein Behzad Paintings.
Fine Art Museum: 18th & 19th century European Paintings.
Water Museum: Keeping, restoring and revenue operation of water in Iran.
Sepahsalah school & mosque: One of the greatest Iranian School architecture, it is located down town, adjutant to Baharestan. Dating back to Qajar era, it is a 20800 m2 complex, built by the most famous architects of its time in 1795. The 8 minerat specially create beautiful and unique scenery.
Tehran’s Bazaar: A City within a City Tehran’s history as the capital dates back to the Ghajar time. Besides museums, palaces and mosques which are the mirror of a nation’s history, this bazaar of Tehran has its own fair share of the nation’s history. Tehran’s bustling and crowded bazaar covers a huge area. There are also mosques, guesthouses, banks and even a fire station within the sprawling area in south Tehran which is covered by the bazaar district. The main business in Tehran’s grand bazaar takes place around noon (10-12) and between 5-7 pm in the evening. Visitors are encouraged to bargain over prices.
The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art: on the west side of the very lovely Laleh Park is a low-lying dun-brick building functioning as Tehran’s most important museum of contemporary art. Notice the skylights raised from the roof. Reminiscent of the “badgirs” of Yazd or Kashan, these allow the harsh sun to softly light the central sunken well of inner space – itself a modern interpretation of the cool underground havens of desert city residences. Labyrinthine corridors spin off the central hall and guide you through the history of modern Iranian art.
Iran Dress Code and Hijab
Iran Dress Code and Hijab
Maybe one of the main differences to other countries you’d traveled before is Iranian dress code and hijab, and this is the biggest concern for female travelers to Iran. As an Islamic country, Iran has its own rules for dressing in public. Scarf: As a woman, you should cover the hair with headscarves, do remember to pack a headscarf in your handbag as you have to wear it the moment you exit the plane and are officially in Iran. This headscarf accompanies you all time you’re in the country except in hotel’s room. If your headscarf falls (which happens often!) don’t worry and quickly put it back on again. But just pay attention at all times.
Tip 1: Wearing your hair in a high bun or ponytail helps keep the scarf in place!
Tip 2: Choose the headscarf color freely, not necessarily dark colors. It’s OK!
Tip 3: You can buy very nice headscarves in local shops with very low prices; beautiful colors and patterns, call it a memento of Iran thereafter! (Mainly in Tehran)
Trousers: Trousers, jeans or long skirts depending on the traveling season are all OK.
Tip: It’s better to be more cautious in Mashhad, Qom and Isfahan and respect the values by wearing more fitting clothes.
For Men? Don’t worry! Dressing the same as you do in western countries, just avoid short shorts.
A City within a City
Sightseeing / Tehran’s Bazaar: A City within a City: Tehran’s history as the capital dates back to the Ghajar time. Besides museums, palaces and mosques which are the mirror of a nation’s history, this bazaar of Tehran has its own fair share of the nation’s history. Tehran’s bustling and crowded bazaar covers a huge area. There are also mosques, guesthouses, banks and even a fire station within the sprawling area in south Tehran which is covered by the bazaar district. The main business in Tehran’s grand bazaar takes place around noon (10-12) and between 5-7 pm in the evening. Visitors are encouraged to bargain over prices.